By nightriff 3 Comments
In the past I usually just created a list and called it done. 2016 was an interesting year for me as it pertained to games. I don’t get to play every new release so my lists in the past have been very short, relegated to the few games I had an opportunity to play. I would rather create a more diverse list of awards to games and force myself to write about them rather than create an arbitrary list of the handful I got to play and fit them into an order ala how the GB crew does it. I’m not the crew and so why should I create a list? Let’s begin!
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – When this came out in 2015, I wanted to save it for when I finally built an awesome PC, which I was finally able to this past summer. Oh boy I wish I was able to play it when it first came out, but part of is glad that I wait, I got a whole mess of DLC and expansions to play with and it was for the most part a bug free experience. But this is my kind of game, love the choices, love the characters (except Dandelion, fuck him), love all the side stories and just being in the world. It felt like a better Skyrim in terms of just existing in a world full of mystery. I spent 100 hours in the game and I’m waiting for a lull to jump back in with a new game +. Only knock I have against it would be I still like the Witcher 2 as a better overall game, but man I wish I played The Witcher in 2015, I would’ve had a hard time deciding between MGS5 and Witcher 3 for my personal Game of the Year.
Runner Up: Costume Quest – What a fun little game with a lot of charm. Has a great story, funny moments and characters and love the atmosphere it creates. I’m debating on making it a game I play through every Halloween I enjoyed it so much. The sequel on the other hand, I’ll get to in a moment.
Runner Up: Pokemon Omega Ruby – I fell into a Pokemon hole earlier this year, don’t worry, I found my way out with the 4th Gen game, but god damn is Omega Ruby an awesome game. Playing the original games reminded me that I love (and still do to an extent) the series, Omega Ruby ruined any chance of me ever playing those older games ever again. The changes they made are absolutely essential to a more enjoyable experience. These changes may have occurred in B/W or X/Y, I haven’t played them yet, but this was my first experience with them and I fucking loved it.
Costume Quest 2 – Maybe it was my mistake to try and squeeze in the sequel before the end of October but man this game couldn’t have missed harder for me than it did. Within a few hours I had to just stop, the charm was all but gone for me. The minor changes they made just felt like a manufactured way to extend the game, the jokes just weren’t there, the few areas I got to were just blah. Maybe if I waited till 2017 to play it...but that isn’t the case. Fuck Costume Quest 2.
Runner Up: Cibele – I just could not relate to this game in anyway. It was weird hearing Austin rave about the game last year in the GotY discussions when I re-listened to the podcasts, I almost felt like a bad person because it didn’t click with me. I felt vindicated once Jason beat the game during the discussions and stated an opinion that was inline with how I felt. For a 45 minute experience, it felt incredibly shallow that you could see where the plot was going within 3 minutes. The guy was a TERRIBLE actor and just looked like a douche, it was just awkward to watch in the this is just bad way, not in the awkward way it wanted me to experience it. All the love in the world to Nina Freeman, appreciate her telling a very personal story where she comes out looking foolish, that had to take a lot of self control and courage. Sorry I hated the game.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – Game was fine, whatever. As a follow up to a 2011 game, it couldn’t have felt more like it belonged in 2013 than it did. Everything about it felt like it was an expansion to HR, but they decided to build on that and release a sequel….5 years later. Story was meh (but so was HR’s), characters seemed just as meh, few memorable moments. I didn’t hate the game but I was glad I paid a discounted rate for the experience.
Runner Up: Pac-Man: Championship Edition 2 – Game is ok, but as follow up to DX? Yeah this gets a big shrug from me.
Runner Up: Civilization 6 – I was expecting a Civ4 and Civ5 level of addiction to this game before release. It didn’t happen. I shrugged, I moved on after 50 ish hours (keep in mind, I was expecting hundreds). See you when more stuff is added or when you get an expansion.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – A lot of the talk around this game just left me confused. I like all the Uncharted games for what they are, this seemed like the worst one. Let me say something positive, it is the best told and emoted story, but I enjoyed the story way less than the other games. Uncharted is an Indiana Jones type of adventure with minimal drama and tons of action. This was trying to do something different and by the time I noticed I was halfway through and had to push my way through the rest of the bullshit. Let’s see, after 4 games I can say for sure that I hate the fucking combat in these games, just never clicked with me in a satisfying way. Fuck the “open world” parts of the game, I want to see the next story beat, not do some puzzling with a god damn jeep, fuck god dammit more combat, shit. I like the treasure hunting aspects of the series, so that taking a drastic step into the background was disappointing to me. I love you Troy, don’t hate me, but fuck the brother. Fuck the majority of the flashbacks, what? Drake isn’t actually a descendant of Sir Francis Drake, SHOCKING!!! Outside the epilogue (which saved my opinion of the game for me from being any lower), I would be debating which was more disappoint to me, this or Dragon Age 2. See ya Nathan, enjoyed your first 2 adventures a ton, now please retire.
Runner Up: Huniecam Studio – I really liked Huniepop, so I bought this day one mainly to support the developer, but yeah this game is generic and sort of lifeless. I don’t have a lot of experience with clickers but this didn’t grab me to want to continue playing which seems like the whole damn point of clickers. Hope his next effort is more enjoyable.
Stardew Valley – I really wanted this game to grab me, but after one season it just didn’t. It goes against the game entirely but I wish the story stuff was more structured, story beats would play out every few days, slowly make friends and acquaintances with everyone (or hell, make me pick between a few). How its structured leads me towards a faq or guide, and while I don’t mind doing it in games, I didn’t want to put in the effort for this one. There is a game I would love in there, somewhere, but that would require me to fundamentally make major changes to the structure of it and I try not to do those things more often than not. I try to appreciate designers decisions in how games are made, even if I don’t like them. I was very happy to see Dan get the game on the site list, but it isn’t for me. Sorry…
Runner Up: The Witness – I beat the Witness, I get what its doing but the majority of the puzzles just infuriated me. Like Drew, my relationship was satisfaction and anger switching, but probably….85% of the game was me just anger at the game (and myself for being stupid). I similarly felt the same way when I attempted Braid last year so maybe Jon Blow is just operating at a level way higher than I can comprehend, but I appreciate his works nonetheless. I won’t be buying his next game when its released in 2026, I’ve learned they just aren’t for me.
XCOM 2 – I loved Enemy Unknown, I just literally bought the game a few days ago, wish I got to you XCOM 2, see you in 2017!!
Backlog: Hitman: Blood Money – I’ve been eyeing you for 6 years at this point, maybe 2017 will finally be the end of you mocking me…
Doom (2016) – I heard all the love, but god dammit I wish I was there week 1 for this once everyone saw what the game actually was. I haven’t enjoyed a FPS campaign this much in years. It was so fast, so brutal, so smooth and comfortable to play, I just felt badass and that was great. The past few years I’ve gone back and played the old style of FPS in the 90’s and appreciated what the games were going for in terms of speed and maneuverability, and wondered if it would even be possible to capture the feel of Doom 1, 2, or Quake. I couldn’t be more happy to see that this style of FPS is still possible and fucking incredible. Give me a sequel ID Software and I’ll be there day 1 this time.
Runner Up: None
As I said from the beginning, I felt like 2016 was an interesting year for me in terms of video games, mainly because I felt like it was a pretty weak year overall. Listening to the GotY podcasts and reading everyone thoughts on games, more often than not I just straight up disagreed with a lot of people and I just ended up scratching my head with some games that people fell head over heels for. With the podcast discussions, I usually end up adding a dozen or so games to wishlists or mentally check them to purchase at some point based on peoples experiences, not the case at all this year. I still have a few games to get around to eventually (i.e. Hitman, Firewatch, couple other indie titles), so maybe in a year or two I’ll look back at 2016 more fondly, but where it stands with me right now I would have to say the weakest year in games that I can personally recall.
See you all in 2017.